Putting the Logic Back into Biologics

The other day a friend was lamenting that instead of his usual solitary work environment, he was soon to be sharing an office with a coworker. “I’d like to be able to fart in peace without having to look over my shoulder,” he groused. That made me laugh. And it also got me thinking.

Why are we so programmed in this country to be ashamed of normal bodily functions? In some cultures, it’s polite to burp. Here, I’ve actually seen people blush when they sneeze or cough. I’ve even known people who have to turn on the sink faucet to block out the sound before they’ll urinate in a public bathroom.

We also have placed a heavy moral burden upon consensual sex, and how much we weigh or do not weigh. Heaven forbid someone be too tall or too short. Aging seems to be a source of shame. We’re supposed to keep all our body hair under strict control. And don’t even get me started about the stigmas attached to physical or mental disabilities.

Are you sensing a theme here? All of these things are biological. They are a natural part of being human. Everything from sweating to vomiting is a necessary physical process. We have limited control over our bodies.

I must admit I’m an extremely gassy person. When I went back to college in my late 40’s, I was often surrounded by young people who still cared what others thought. My occasional unintended farts would shock them. So one day I said, “Look. I’m old, I’m fat, I fart. I burp, I sneeze, I cough, and I puke. You’re just going to have to get over it.”

Seriously, though, I’ll tell you what: I’ll try not to fart during the National Anthem if you try not to act as though you’ve never farted in your life. The age of the Puritans is long past. We have so many other things to worry about. Let’s move on, shall we?

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If People Came With Warning Labels

On the drive in to work tonight, I was thinking that if people came with warning labels, life would be so much easier. But then, maybe not, because mine would be 10 miles long. It would probably include the following:

Does not suffer fools gladly. Tends to be grumpy if woken up abruptly. Prone to farting. Will become reflexively violent if her navel is touched without warning. Grossed out by tea bags, which she views as floating garbage in her beverage. Will frequently side with the underdog. Will likely become aggressive if she witnesses animal abuse. Will treat you with respect if you treat her with respect, but can curse you out in two languages if treated adversely. Passes out at the sight of blood. Prone to forgetting names. Will not do drugs or get intoxicated, so may be perceived as boring by those who are disinclined to more creative pursuits. Befuddled by conservatives. Not comfortable at parties. Often amused at inappropriate moments. Virtually incapable of insincerity. Quite willing to pay her own way, but usually lacks the funds. Actually likes reality shows. Won’t fold your clothes so don’t bother asking. Frequently accused of having an incomprehensible sense of humor. Apt to drag you to foreign countries. Can be influenced by new ideas. Works horrible hours. Subscribes to the philosophy, “Love me, love my dogs.” Keeps forgetting that one should always be fully clothed when frying bacon. Tends to avoid children. No longer has the cute behind she had at age 19. Hates to cook. Cleans only when absolutely necessary. Enjoys peace and quiet entirely too much. Practically blind without her glasses. Often loses her glasses. Hates to waste money. Not easily embarrassed. Has an annoying tendency to have no filter.

Really, what’s not to love?

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Confession: I Can be a Sick Puppy.

No, I don’t pull the wings off flies or flash people from under a trench coat, but apparently I AM the only human being willing to admit that, yes, I DO slow down to look at traffic accidents. So feel free to blame me for every traffic jam you’ve been in since about 1970. I can take it.

I don’t know what it is about traffic accidents. Maybe they remind me how lucky I am at that moment in time. Maybe I’m trying to figure out how it happened so I can avoid it myself. Maybe it’s the same thing that attracts moths to flames. I couldn’t tell you.

But I’ll also confess that I have an obsession with serial killers. I read everything I can about them. I think that’s more explainable. Since I don’t have a violent bone in my body, I’m fascinated with finding out what could possibly cause a human being to become that sick and twisted.

And reality shows? I can’t get enough of those, either. It’s more than just a throwback to the Bread and Circus concept of ancient Rome. It’s that I can’t look away because I keep hoping I’ll learn why it is people are willing to humiliate themselves in that fashion. The context of the show is much less important to me than the fact that people are making utter fools of themselves on national television. I guess, in their own way, they are human car wrecks, so I just have to slow down and bear witness.

Oh, and one last thing! I am the only person I know who seems to be willing to take ownership of my farts. There. I’ve said it. You’re excused.